Several years ago, Washtenaw County shifted from focusing on and funding outputs - that is, merely counting the number of people served, the number of shelter nights, or the numbers of classes or counseling sessions attended - to an outcome-oriented approach. Outcomes focus on what changes as a result of the above outputs or intervention. For example, a focus on the outcome of a services tells us how many people moved from shelter to stable housing, and, how many people maintained that housing. This outcome orientation allows for a better understanding of the impact of investments in specific programs.
Coordinated Funding enabled funders and agencies to advance this outcome approach by agreeing on a smaller single set of community-wide outcomes to measure for each priority area. Instead of collecting hundreds of diverse outcomes created in isolation by funded agencies, these agencies were asked to agree on a finite set of outcomes to measure service impact. These “community-wide outcomes” will allow Coordinated Funders, local policy-makers, and the community at-large to have a more manageable, coherent scorecard against which to measure impact.